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Safe Way to Clean Used Lab Glassware

Discussion in 'DIY E-Liquid' started by nanovapr, Oct 26, 2011.

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  1. nanovapr

    nanovapr Ultra Member ECF Veteran

    Jun 15, 2011
    Catatonic State, USA
    I am awaiting shipment of DIY materials, I have not started yet. On a local Craigslist listing, I saw lab glassware listed. It was a guy that buys pallets of it at auction, then parts it out. I got several burettes, pipettes, bottles and graduated cylinders for USD$30. Some of it is obviously used, some is sealed in original wrappers.

    Is there a way to clean this stuff, that makes it safe to hold things for human ingestion? Some of the graduated cylinders are big enough I can get a brush in there; the burettes, not so much.
  2. symphynity

    symphynity Senior Member ECF Veteran

    Jun 9, 2011
    If they are made of glass , you could boil them . Wash well first , then boil for 5 mins or so . Dont try to use solvents or the like , as they could leave a toxic residue on the glass, wouldnt want to ingest a nasty hydrocarbon !!
  3. Eddie.Willers

    Eddie.Willers ECF Wiki SysOp Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    Apr 3, 2011
    Prairie Canada
    Dilute muriatic acid and leave to soak overnight then rinse in hot, soapy water - it's what we do when we sell NOS glassware that's been warehoused in damp conditions for 35-40 years from one of our store's suppliers.
  4. brittanyNI

    brittanyNI Senior Member ECF Veteran

    Jun 21, 2011
    New England
    This is the standard procedure and it works well. You can get muriatic acid at a good hardware store.

    That having been said, I have a lab and to be perfectly honest I use a different set of glassware for things for human consumption. The other stuff I play with is just too scary, lol. Even so, I realize I am just being paranoid. How often have I washed a glass in the kitchen sink after it has been sitting somewhere for 6 weeks growing heaven-knows-what? The array of mycotoxins previously in that glass is probably stupendous. All I do is wash the glass thoroughly, run it through the dishwasher and then I happily drink from it.

    One tip -- get some acetone. Water will cling to the inside of glassware and you can zip some acetone through it to pick up and disperse the water.
  5. Seabrook

    Seabrook Vaping Master ECF Veteran

    Mar 17, 2010
    Oceanside, CA
    I was just reading this article tonight. I'll just send you the link. It's a mixture of apple cider vinegar and household bleach - items you may have around your home.

    Vinegar as a Disinfectant
  6. sidetrack

    sidetrack Vaping Master Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Feb 1, 2011
    among the sea shells
    There is a big difference between sanitize, disenfect and srerilize. A surgeon uses sterilized (autoclaved)instruments. Since you don't know the history (especially the used glassware)of what the glassware may have been exposed to I would never use it unless it is STERILIZED.I would call my dentist or doctor and ask if they would autoclave it for me. If that is not an option and it's all lab glassware which should be heatproof glass (make sure first)I would try washing rinsing well to remove any soap film and put it in an oven on maybe a cookie sheet at 320 F for 2-3 hr.
  7. SiBurning

    SiBurning Full Member

    Apr 29, 2011
    I'm no chemist, just an amateur that does a bit of etching, but I wouldn't ever use unknown used glass for vaping, food, or even soap. Or etching, for that matter. You never know what the stuff was used for. Could have been heavy metals or other poisonous things, or even radioactive compounds.

    I imagine acid would be easier, safer, and more effective for plain dirt, but I'd feel a lot safer using a strong base, especially when considering biologicals. Concentrated sodium hydroxide in high purity ethanol or isopropanol is cheap and quite corrosive enough to do general cleaning jobs. (And corrosive enough to mess up you and your sink.) Just don't leave it in contact with the glass for too long--overnight, for example--because it'll basically start to melt. (Pun intended.) Soak in that, rinse in distilled water, air dry. The acetone tip's a good one, too.

    Once the glass is clean, all of this is probably overkill for equipment dedicated to vaping. I'd just wash in the sink normally, taking care to rinse it quite well with a dedicated, clean--no soap--sponge or brush, then maybe do a final rinse with distilled water squirted from a squeeze bottle, like from a sports drink, and air dry. Even that's probably overkill for the few safe ingredients used in vaping. I'd also be careful to thoroughly rinse out any sponge that got nicotine on it before replacing it for other use, thereby diluting it well.

    BTW, you can get brushes made for burettes at chemical supply stores. Just be careful about how they specify the width.

    vinegar + bleach? Uh oh! Keep the place extremely well ventilated and keep the stuff at arm's length.
  8. Skeetergirl

    Skeetergirl Senior Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Jul 15, 2011
    Albertville, AL
    This is just stupid crazy! What are we doing to ourselves?!!

    I think I might just be ready to go back to traditional nicotine sticks... at least I know what threats I'm facing!!!!
  9. Prettycat191

    Prettycat191 Ultra Member ECF Veteran

    Sep 1, 2011
    Plano, TX
    Or DO you? :p

    I must be tired, I can't stop cracking jokes lol.
  10. Skeetergirl

    Skeetergirl Senior Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Jul 15, 2011
    Albertville, AL
    LOL, I was tired too and nope I wouldn't would I?
  11. nanovapr

    nanovapr Ultra Member ECF Veteran

    Jun 15, 2011
    Catatonic State, USA
    Thanks for the tips. How diluted would the muriatic acid be? I noticed that the graduated cylinders (for example) had aluminum foil crumpled over the top of them. This is of course no seal at all, but in reading (IANAC**) I see that is a common practice for autoclaving? That could mean that it is not straight out of the Manhatten Project, at least.

    Skeetergirl, I promise not to send you any DIY juice... :laugh:

    ** I Am Not A Chemist
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